If your team is adjusting to a new remote structure, you’re probably also re-thinking your hiring and onboarding strategy. Maybe you were right in the middle of interviewing for a position and have to finish the interview process remotely. Or you already had a new team member’s start date in place and now need to translate their perfectly planned in-office onboarding into a just-as-exciting remote option. Wherever you may be in the hiring journey, it’s painful to have that plan come to a screeching halt. Quickly pivoting to a remote onboarding or remote hiring strategy can be very challenging. That’s why Vangst is here to help!
We’ve outlined some easy-to-follow tips below for remote interviewing and hiring, as well as best practices for remotely onboarding a new team member. Like we shared in our recent Remote Work Best Practices post, the goal is to keep your hiring process seamless and continue down the path you were already going!
Remote Interviewing Challenge #1
“In a remote interviewing environment, how can I still get a feel for a candidate’s personality? And how can I effectively articulate our company’s culture without an in-office visit as a recruiting tool?”
Tip #1: Video, video, video!
If your company doesn’t pay for a video conferencing service, you can use free ones like Google Hangouts, Zoom’s free offering, or even FaceTime on Apple devices. Send specific download and dial instructions for candidates ahead of time and make sure they have everything they need in order to call in.
Tip #2: Make the intro rounds – virtually.
Consider a group video conference call where the candidate can meet other people. This way they can still get acquainted with teammates they would have casually met during a typical in-office interview. Invite members of the team for a very quick introduction in the first part of the interview, and then they can leave the conference call before you begin your 1:1 conversation.
Tip #3: Break the ice.
Video conferencing with a stranger can be uncomfortable. Get real about it and name the feeling to break the ice. Let candidates know that remote wasn’t your first choice for a meeting environment, either, but you’re still just as eager to meet them. You are ready to make the best of the situation if they are, too!
Tip #4: Leverage your reality as a key learning tool.
An unexpected remote interviewing environment is a great real-time opportunity to learn how a candidate deals with setbacks. Ask how they’re adapting to the realities of the current situation and get insight into their attitude toward change and unexpected challenges.
Remote Interviewing Challenge #2
“Part of our interview process is a candidate presentation or a review of their portfolio or best relevant work. How do I effectively do this in a remote interviewing environment?”
Tip #1: Screen share like you mean it.
Most video-conferencing tools allow for screen sharing. If the candidate plans to walk you through a presentation or share visuals, be sure to send over instructions for the video tool you’ve selected.
Tip #2: Do your (virtual) homework.
These days, most candidates are prepared to share their work virtually, whether or not the interview is remote. Make sure to ask ahead of time for any relevant links to web portfolios, published content or other work samples.
New Hire Onboarding Challenge #1
“How can I still train and educate my employees remotely so they’re set up for success in the first few weeks?”
Tip #1: Check in daily.
If you think about it, in the office you would see your new hire multiple times a day, whether it be passing in the halls or stopping by their desk/office. In a remote onboarding environment, calling multiple times a day to check in isn’t micromanaging. You can also consider spending time on video together if your new hire is working through an assignment. You can stay on mute so that you can each get work done, but you’ll also be on-call for any questions or how-tos that arise.
Tip #2: Work that calendar (or productivity tool)!
Make sure a new employee’s calendar is filled with specific tasks to keep things moving. You don’t need back-to-back meetings, but be very clear in what new employees can and should be working on in the first week. This way, they can get up to speed as quickly and autonomously as possible.
Tip #3: Get your team involved.
Create a team-wide protocol for employees to reach out and introduce themselves. Whether via email, phone, instant messaging, texting, or FaceTime, anything works! When remote onboarding is necessary, you still want your new hire to feel warmly welcomed. Identify one individual who is tasked with checking in, like a buddy system. That way you know that your new hire is getting the opportunity to socialize daily as well.
New Hire Onboarding Challenge #2
“How do I logistically translate all of our new hire onboarding plans into a remote setting?”
Tip #1: Virtual happy hours are your friend!
When done right, an online social setting works just as well as an IRL one when it comes to officially welcoming a new teammate. Make sure to provide an outline so it’s not a free for all – people usually respond well to a remote social hour if they know what they should talk about. For example, ask each person share their name and role along with a personal fact like their favorite activity outside of work.
Tip #2: Help navigate the most important information.
Rather than just sharing a massive file of content for your new hire to filter through, walk through everything together on a video screen share. Presentations can still be scheduled as usual with the help of video conference technology. It’s easy to use screen share to virtually guide new employees through robust file and content management systems.
Tip #3: Remember snail mail?
If it’s safely within your means, use the good old USPS to deliver any physical items that a new hire needs for their first day. Company swag, a welcome letter, documents they may need printed out, and physical tools they’ll need to do their job remotely (notebooks, laptop, company cell phone, etc) all can be shipped and delivered by Day One with a little time and planning.
New Hire Onboarding Challenge #3
“What about when it’s time to actually hire? How do I remotely handle the offer letter, HR requirements, and all of the legal documentation?”
Tip #1: Stay up-to-date on modifications to the I-9 process for new hires.
Rules and regulations are updated often, so make sure to always stay ahead of the requirements game. For the latest updates and more detailed information, you can visit the government’s resource page on I-9 form compliance.
Tip #2: Offer digital-sign offer letters and contracts
Don’t assume that people have a working printer in their homes, and remember that the postal service can take time. Especially if you’re not used to having stamps on hand! Online services like Docusign and Hellosign can be a lifesaver when it comes to hiring remotely, and you may find they become a hiring process staple even when remote work is no longer required. Most services have no-cost “freemium” versions available in order to keep your costs and commitments at a minimum.
Remote interviewing and hiring may be new to you, but you can still be highly successful. Follow the best practices outlined above and make sure to learn what works best for you and your team, and you’ll continue delivering the best hiring experience possible. And if you’re ready to find the best candidates possible for your next remote interview, start with Vangst.com. From our free job-posting platform, to our premium temporary GIGS and direct hire talent sourcing services, we make it easy to find the quality talent you need to make every hiring endeavor a success.